The following excerpts are from
an interview with Yemeni-American Jihadi cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki, which
aired on the Internet on May 23, 2010.
Interviewer: You are accused
of involvement in 14 cases [of terror], in the US, Canada, and Britain.
Is there any truth in these allegations, which have been spread by the
media, and what are the reasons for this onslaught?
Anwar Al-Awlaki: This onslaught
is because I am a Muslim who calls to Islam. They are accusing me of
incitement. Nidal Hasan, Umar Farouk, and the other cases that you mentioned
– the common denominator between them is incitement. Incitement to
what? Incitement to Jihad, and to the Islam revealed by Allah in the
Koran and in the Sunna of His Prophet. That is the accusation. The Americans
do not want an Islam that defends the causes of the Islamic nation,
or an Islam that calls for Jihad, for the implementation of the shari’a,
and for the Doctrine of Allegiance and Disavowal. These are gates of
Islam that they do not want opened, and they do not want people to be
called to them. They want an Islam that is American, liberal, democratic,
peaceful, and civilized, as has been mentioned and promoted in some
of their reports, for instance, in a report by the Rand Corporation.
Today, [Islam] has jurisprudence of honor, which demands justice, as
well as jurisprudence of ignominy and a culture of servility. A high-ranking
CIA official says: If we are faced by a Mullah Omar, we will confront
him with a Mullah Bradley…It’s an American name.
This war over the hearts and minds
of the Islamic world has reached its peak. Today, the US is trying to
promote a false Islam, just as their forefathers falsified Christianity
and Judaism. Now they want to falsify Islam – but the religion of
Allah is safeguarded. Today, we have a jurisprudence of honor, which
is promoted by some Islamic preachers and activists, like yourselves,
in Al-Qaeda. Your discourse is an example of the jurisprudence of honor.
Take, for instance, what Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri said to Obama. He said
to him: “Mr. Obama, may Allah bring about the downfall of the US at
the hands of the mujahideen. That way, we – along with the
entire world – will find relief from your evil.” This is an example
of the discourse of honor. It is a candid and clear expression of the
Muslims’ view of the US. We, along with the rest of the world, are
waiting to find the relief from your evil, because of your oppression
and aggression against the world. In contrast, when Obama visited the
Islamic world – he went to Riyadh by way of Cairo – a preacher greeted
him, saying: “What a blessed moment, Abu Hussein.” A blessed moment?!
When Obama comes to the heart of the Islamic world, that Arabian Peninsula?!
Is it a “blessed moment” when we welcome Obama – the commander
of the Crusader war against Islam today, the Pharaoh of our times? Should
we be welcoming him with these words? This is an example of the jurisprudence
of ignominy and the culture of servility.
Nidal Hasan is a student of mine, and
I am proud of this. I am proud that there are people like Nidal Hasan
among my students. What he did was a heroic act, a wonderful operation.
I ask Allah to make him steadfast, to protect him, and to free him.
I support what he did, and I call upon anyone who calls himself a Muslim,
and serves in the US army, to follow in the footsteps of Nidal Hasan.
Good deeds erase bad ones. In addition, I call upon [all] Muslims to
follow in his footsteps, and to wage Jihad by speech or by action. Nidal
Hasan set a wonderful example, and I ask Allah to make it a beginning,
and that many other Muslims will follow in his footsteps.
[US Muslim] organizations used to support
the Jihad in Afghanistan, in Bosnia, in Chechnya, and in Palestine.
I was there, in America, at that time. We used to call from the pulpits
to everything in Islam: Jihad for the sake of Allah, the establishment
of the Caliphate. Allegiance and Disavowal. We could speak freely. The
freedom in America allowed us to say these things, and we had much more
freedom than in many of the countries of the Islamic world.
How can we possibly oppose an operation
like Nidal Hasan’s?! He killed American soldiers on their way to Afghanistan
and Iraq. Who could possibly oppose this? There is a consensus about
this issue, not only among humans, but even among domesticated animals.
If you push a cat into a corner, it makes its fur stand on end, and
its bares its teeth and its claws in order to defend itself. Yet we
say that a Muslim does not have the right to defend himself? Nidal Hasan
is Palestinian in origin. He was defending his nation.
We are dealing with an infidel country,
America, which is at war with us. The image of ourselves that we want
to convey to America is: Oh America, if you attack us, we will attack
you, and if you kill us, we will kill you.
The war today between the Muslims and
the Americans is not just about oil, not just about a maritime strait,
and not just about controlling a land or a sea. It is not just a war
over Palestine, Iraq, or Afghanistan. True, these are all among the
reasons for the conflict, but in its essence, hart, and core, this is
a war about the belief in Allah’s unity. America wants to destroy
the Islam that was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. They want to replace
it with the falsified Islam that I mentioned.
Interviewer: After the air strikes
in Abyan and Shabwa, the mujahid Umar Farouk tried to blow up
a Delta airliner en route from Amsterdam to Detroit. This operation
was in retaliation for the oppressive American air strikes in Yemen.
What is your connection to Umar Farouk?
Anwar Al-Awlaki: This operation
fulfilled some goals of the mujahideen. It is considered an operation
of retaliation and deterrence against the Americans. This operation
demonstrated the flaws in the US security agencies, both in their intelligence
and in their [homeland] security. The Americans spent over $40 billion
on their airport security, and then the mujahid
Umar Farouk managed to penetrate these measures. In addition, the intelligence
agencies claim that he was under surveillance, yet he managed to reach
Detroit, in the heart of America. This operation achieved great successes,
even without killing a single person.
As for the brother Umar Farouk, he
is likewise a student of mine, and this also is an honor. I support what
Interviewer: Do you support
such operations, even though they target what the media calls “innocent
Anwar Al-Awlaki: Yes. With regard
to the issue of “civilians,” this term has become prevalent these
days, but I prefer to use the terms employed by our jurisprudents. They
classify people as either combatants or non-combatants. A combatant
is someone who bears arms – even if this is a woman. Non-combatants
are people who do not take part in the war. The American people in its
entirety takes part in the war, because they elected this administration,
and they finance this war. In the recent elections, and in the previous
ones, the American people had other options, and could have elected
people who did not want war. Nevertheless, these candidates got nothing
but a handful of votes. We should examine this issue from the perspective
of Islamic law, and this settles the issue – is it permitted or forbidden?
If the heroic mujahid brother Umar Farouk could have targeted
hundreds of soldiers, that would have been wonderful. But we are talking
about the realities of war.
For 50 years, an entire people –
the Muslims in Palestine – has been strangled, with American aid,
support, and weapons. Twenty years of siege and then occupation of Iraq,
and now, the occupation of Afghanistan. After all this, no one should
even ask us about targeting a bunch of Americans who would have been
killed in an airplane. Our unsettled account with America includes,
at the very least, one million women and children. I’m not even talking
about the men. Our unsettled account with America, in women and children
alone, has exceeded one million. Those who would have been killed in
the plane are a drop in the ocean.
They shut down my website following
Nidal Hasan’s operation. I had posted an article of mine in support
of what Nidal Hasan did, and so, they shut down my website. Then I read
in the Washington Post that they were monitoring my communications.
So I was forced to stop these communications. I left that region, and
then the American air strikes took place.
But it is not true that I am a fugitive.
I move around among my tribesmen and in other parts of Yemen, because
the people of Yemen hate the Americans, and support the people of truth
and the oppressed. I move around among the Awlaki tribe, and I get support
from wide sectors of the people in Yemen, whether in Abida, Daham, Waila,
Hashed, Bakil, or Hawlan, whether in Hadhramawt, Abyan, Shabwa, Aden,
There were negotiations in the past
with the Yemeni government about turning myself in, but I categorically
rejected this, because I am not accused of anything, to begin with.
What am I accused of? That I call to the truth? That I call to Jihad
for the sake of Allah, and in defense of the Islamic nation’s causes?
The same goes for the Americans. I
have no intention of turning myself in to them. If they want me, let
them search for me.
The Islamic movements, the clerics,
and the Islamic universities should send representatives to Somalia,
to study under these mujahideen, and then pass this experience
on in their own countries.
Nidal Hasan used to be an American
Muslim, the way the US wants them to be. Nidal Hasan used to pray, fast,
and give zakat, but at the same time, he was a soldier in the
US army, whose loyalty lay with America. Then, as a result of America’s
crimes, he turned into a mujahid for the sake of Allah. From
being an American soldier, Nidal Hasan turned into a mujahid
who killed the soldiers with whom he served. If America’s crimes continue,
we will see a new Nidal Hasan. There are also mujahideen from
the West, or from America, in Afghanistan and in Iraq, and this phenomenon
will grow, due to the Western and American crimes in the Islamic world.
My message to the Muslims in general,
and to those in the Arabian Peninsula in particular, is that we should
participate in this Jihad against America. Today, America leads the
global Crusader campaign against the Muslims. The America of today is
the Pharaoh of the past. We should take part in it. We have a glimmer
of hope in this small band of mujahideen in Afghanistan, in Iraq,
and in Somalia, who have managed to bring the US army to its knees.
Due to this Jihad, the US economy is reeling today. If that small band
of mujahideen have managed to defeat America, imagine what would
happen if the Islamic nation rose up. America cannot withstand this
Islamic nation. It is too weak. America’s cunning is weaker than a